Toronto Hakka Conference
July 10-11, 2021
Register for the 2021 Conference
Joseph Tsang Mang Kin, An essayist and a poet, writing in English and French, on Mauritian History, Mauritian Diplomacy; Slavery; Religion and Freemasonry in the Indian Ocean; Mauritian Literature; Francophonie; Early Christian History; The Hakka People; Chinese and Indian Diasporas; Africa Revival; and Comparative Culture (Chinese and Western). Author of The Hakka Epic/Le Grand Chant Hakka, recipient of Brilliance of China Medal, Grand Officer of the Order of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean (GOSK) of Mauritius, Chevalier dans l’Ordre du Lion du Sénégal.
Among his key mandates were: Minister of Arts and Culture of the Republic of Mauritius; Deputy Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, London; panel member of the African Peer Review Mechanism, African Union; Counsellor, Mauritius Embassy, Paris and Brussels; Counsellor, Ministry of External Affairs, Mauritius.
Currently Member of Panel of Eminent Persons, African Peer Review Mechanism, African Union, Addis Ababa; CPTM Companion, Smart Partner and Member of International Advisory Council (Commonwealth Partnership in Technological Management) London; Consultant/GuoWen, Chinese Overseas Exchanges Association, COA, Beijing; Board Director Chinese Overseas Association for the Promotion of Cultural Exchange, Meixian, China; Chairman, Chinese Diaspora and Heritage, Mauritius.
Siu-Leung Lee, Ph.D (Purdue), B.Sc.(Chinese University, H.K.) was born in Hong Kong. He migrated from academia to industry, having spent four years at his alma mater to help establish the Hong Kong Institute of Biotechnology. He started the Hakka homepage, Asiawind.com in 1995; it has been cited as the best by Britannica Online. When he founded Asiawind in 1996, a Hakka forum was added. Since then, it has become the gathering place for Hakkas all over the world. Dr. Lee also has a wide interest in Chinese culture, including history, art, music, calligraphy and martial arts. He has had solo calligraphy exhibits in various U.S. cities. He has also earned awards for the calligraphy of his own poems. In 2014, Dr. Lee was elected President of the Zheng He Society of the Americas, Washington DC, and in 2017, his most notable paper at the International Cartographic Conference is now archived by the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
Herbert Ho Ping Kong is the G. Raymond Chang Speaker for this 6th Toronto Hakka Conference. Born into a large Hakka shopkeeper family in Jamaica, HPK as he is affectionately called, earned his Ph.D. at the University of the West Indies and then became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in the United Kingdom. He immigrated to Canada in 1972 and worked at the Royal Victoria Hospital, McGill University, before moving to the Toronto Western Hospital, University of Toronto. In his book The Art of Medicine: Healing and the Limits of Technology, he argues that in an age of specialization and research, doctors should rely on the arts of seeing, hearing and palpating. His work is continued by the Centre of Excellence for Education and Practice at the Toronto Western Hospital.
Paula Williams Madison retired from NBC Universal as Executive Vice-President and previously held positions as TV station President and Vice-President of News. Born in Harlem to a mixed race Hakka Chinese Jamaican mother, she retired from NBCU in order to find the descendants of her Hakka Chinese grandfather whom she had never met. In 2012, she traveled to the 4th Toronto Hakka Conference whose members helped her to trace her family to Shenzhen. Toronto film maker Jeanette Kong produced and directed Finding Samuel Lowe. Paula wrote a book with the same title which was published in English by HarperCollins and in Chinese by Shenzhen Publishing Co. In 2019, it was named one of the Top 10 Nonfiction Books about Shenzhen and has been approved for inclusion to schools’ reading lists by China’s Ministry of Education. She founded the New York Hakka Conference in 2015.
Professor Abraham Anthony Chen, retired professor of Physics at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica campus, was a team leader on the United Nations Intergovernmental Committee on Climate Change in 2013. The Committee was co-winner of the Nobel Prize. Professor Chen’s team was responsible for reporting on the effects of climate change on small islands.
Justin Poy established in the early 90’s one of Canada’s first ad agencies specializing in reaching ethnic communities. He currently heads one of the top firms involved in the ever-growing business of Chinese social media. He recently co-organized a major conference at the Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library, Robarts Library, University of Toronto, on “How WeChat Changed the World”. As Honorary Patron, Mr. Poy delivered the keynote speech to open the 2019, 2020 and 2021 Asian Heritage Month for the Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario) Inc.
Professor Ruifeng Liang is a native of Shanggang, Fujian province; he was a researcher at Cambridge University before becoming a professor of Materials Sciences at the University of West Virginia. He researched the energy efficiency of Fujian tulou for a television program commissioned by the History Channel. He is currently testing rammed-earth houses in Alaska on a federal government contract. As a community worker, he is the President of the Shanggang Association of North America. In November 2020, he founded the International Institute of Hakka Studies.
SPEAKERS (TO DATE)
Wei-An Chang (張維安), Ph.D., (Tung Hai University) is a Professor and Director of the Center for General Education at the National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, (Hsinchu Campus), as well as at the Institute of Hakka Cultural Studies, National Central University, Taoyuan (joint appointment). He gained a tremendous understanding of sociology, economic sociology to information society and Hakka research with his many years of research and learning experience in these fields. He wishes to continue his research in these fields. In 2012, as the Dean of the College of Hakka Studies at National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), his academic research led to the significant promotion of Hakka studies. He has been working with many potential young scholars and has established periodical journals such as Global Hakka Studies, as well as ongoing projects like the Japan Hakka Research Project, South East Asian Hakka Research Project, Hakka Ethnic Groups and Government Policy Research Project. He is the author of several books published in the last five years.
Robert Hew is the current president of the Chinese Benevolent Association in Jamaica. A Rhodes scholar, with expertise in law and administration, he has digitized all the records of the Chinese cemetery of Jamaica, translating Hakka words into Mandarin so that the listing of villages on modern maps can be utilized. As well, he provides guidance on linking that data base to Jamaican and foreign records of births, deaths, marriages, etc.
Huihan Lie, president of My China Roots, with agents all over China, will speak on a genealogy panel. His company is based in London, United Kingdom.
Felicia Chang, president of Plantain, a bespoke genealogy firm, will speak on a genealogy panel. Her company is based in London, United Kingdom.
Pooran Rodney Bridgelall has many years of experience as a researcher and teacher in the Mormon church. Having specialized in the Caribbean community, he is now including the Indian diaspora of Mauritius, South East Asia, South Africa and the Panama Canal. In his recent workshop at Roots Tech in London, he utilized resources such as Records of Indenture, Estate Registers, Cadastral Maps, Church records.
Dr. Bayer Lee became interested in the Hakka people for being devoted, as much to their folk religion as to biblical Christianity, when he was a doctoral candidate in New York City. He was one of the first scholars to attend the initial conferences on Hakkaology and he witnessed the diminution of this school of thought. He is also keenly interested in Ming dynasty defences of China’s southern coast, and in Punti-Hakka conflicts. He is therefore well qualified to speculate on the social benefits of the Belt and Road undersea tunnel from Zhuhai-Macao to Hong Kong.
Harry Truong Mokm survived the horrors of the Vietnam war as a teenager. He lived briefly in the USA and then sought refuge in Canada. With the mindset of an inventor and philosopher, he developed several businesses while mindfully seeking to resolve contradictions in both capitalism and communism in the age of technology. He has distilled his thoughts and experiences in a forthcoming book titled The Twelve Virtues: Success, Happiness and Harmony the Hakka Way.
Mitzi Espinosa Luis is a board member of the Chee Gung Tong of Cuba as well as a writer and lecturer. She has delivered papers in such forums as the International Society of Chinese Overseas and the New York Hakka Conference. She served as translator and guide to the Toronto-New York team to the 150th anniversary of the Chee Gung Tong of Cuba. She is an advisor to the restoration of the Chinese cemetery in Havana. Her latest book is entitled Chinese Footprints This Side of the Atlantic.
Dr. Kathy Lopez is an Associate Professor at Rutgers University, who speaks regularly at the Miami Forum on Caribbean Immigration into the Caribbean Basin and at the New York Hakka Conference. She is author of the book Chinese Cubans. She spoke at the inaugural conference of the Confucius Institute of the University of the West Indies, Jamaica.
Dr. Janet Tai Landa is Full Professor of Economics, Emerita, York University, Canada. She has written two books on Hakka-Chinese entrepreneurship in Malaysia and Singapore. She was Visiting Professor at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the Max Planck Institute in Germany. She was a nominator for the Nobel Prize 2000-2004, and was credited for launching a new area in economics, namely, the economics of identity.
Dr. Ken Chong, a Meixien hakka, retired as Research Professor at George Washington University, and Director of Mechanics & Materials at U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). He earned a Ph.D in Mechanics from Princeton University. He published 200 technical papers, 5 textbooks; and gave over 50 plenary lectures. He was awarded the NSF Distinguished Service Award, the highest award at NSF, for his exemplary direction of the Mechanics Program and for his role in nurturing the emerging field of nanomechanics.
Dr. James Chen, a Dungguan hakka, received his PhD from Harvard University in high energy particle physics and has held professorships at the University of Pennsylvania, the State University of New York (SUNY), and the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Germany. He has been a faculty fellow at NASA and a NATO senior scientist. His publications cover high energy particle physics with time reversal invariance as well as proton- and synchrotron radiation-induced x-ray emission. He was invited by the U.S. Center for Disease Control to investigate the toxicological causes of the Legionnaire’s Disease outbreak in Philadelphia.
Elvira (Helen) Villaraza Ostrowski, B. Arch., is the wife and colleague of the late Jorg Ostrowski. They designed and built their own Eco-Home-Office 20 years ago on a suburban street in Calgary, Alberta. They had developed 300 partnerships with eco-minded organizations in the private and public sector, while attracting over 150,000 individual visitors to their demonstration home. Ongoing initiatives include the Silk Road to Peace from China to Europe, the Hakka Heritage Trail converging on Xiamen and the Eco-Home Leapfrog along the Southeast Asia portion of the Maritime Silk Road.
Patricia Castro 柯裴 has a doctorate in Anthropology with a specialty on China, through a joint program developed at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and the University of Beijing (China). She has a Master’s in Communications (Journalism) and a BA in Literature and Linguistics. She has been a chief correspondent in China and a war correspondent in Afghanistan and Iraq for the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio. She has been a teacher at Peking University and a news anchor of Spanish Channel in Chinese television. She is a member of the Network of Sinologists and Translators of Chinese Literature and Culture (CCTSS). She has published Passionate about Peru: 18 stories of Chinese characters with the same Peruvian heart (2013), Chinese-Spanish bilingual edition, and The Hakka in Peru (2019) Chinese edition. She is currently a Professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru where she teaches courses on Chinese studies.